- Robert Maurer is a Spokane pyschologist, consultant and author of Mastering Fear.
The year-end holidays evoke powerful emotions in many of us. They can be a time of great joy and celebration, or may remind us of losses we have experienced. If this is a challenging time of year for you, I offer two suggestions. First, seek the companionship of others. This can take many forms, such as attending a class, participating in a religious service, joining a service organization such Kiwanis or Rotary. If your finances permit, a cruise is a wonderful place to escape the winter blues and meet friendly people.
Second, embrace the holidays as a time to focus on giving, rather than on perceived shortcomings. Small acts of kindness may enrich our lives as much as the recipients' lives. Say "thank you" or write a thank-you note to the people who serve us all year long in coffee shops and stores, or who deliver our newspapers or packages. Volunteer to serve at a food bank or at a nursing home by reading to or visiting with patients. Write a "love letter" to family members or friends, thanking them for who they are and how they have contributed to your life. This may lift their spirits, and yours. Send a card with kind words to someone you have become distant from in the past year. Volunteer at an animal shelter. In addition to bringing happiness to the dogs and cats, you will meet other animal lovers.
Tis the season... to be kind to ourselves and others.